Walt Whitman – Midnight migration

walt-whitman
               Walt Whitman

The midnight flight of birds
       passing through the air
darkness overhead
       immense flocks migrating north

In the silence in the shadow
       the delicious odor of the hour
the natural perfume – a rare music
       the rush of mighty wings
or a velvety rustle
       long drawn out
with continual calls and chirps
       and some song-notes

It lasted from 12 till after 3 –
       once in a while a species
plainly distinguishable
       the bobolink the tanager
Wilson’s thrush
       the white-crowned sparrow
and occasionally from on high
       the notes of the plover

Walt Whitman

From Specimen Days (1882), adapted by John Lyons

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